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The traditional Christmas cake is rediscovered salty and perfect for aperitifs: enough with candied fruits and raisins, now it’s the era of pesto, anchovies and cherry tomatoes

“The typical panettone of the Milanese artisan tradition is a soft baked product, with natural leavening, having a typical cylindrical shape due to the baking mould that remains attached to the finished product. The upper crust is chapped and cut in a characteristic way (scarpatura). The dough has a soft and honeycombed structure and an aroma typical of sour yeast”: so says the production disciplinary of the classic panettone. It is a product closely linked to the Christmas period that over the years has seen its range of production from Milan to the whole Italy. The goal of many established pastry chefs is to make this leavened product usable throughout the year, also through revisions of the original recipe. For this purpose, salty panettone are born, authentic works of art able to conquer the most demanding palates thanks to harmoniously contrasting notes and flavors. Many are the pastry chefs who in recent years have broadened the culinary horizons of Italian people: this is the case of the master Salvatore De Riso who in his little corner of paradise in Minori gave birth to the “Contadino Innamorato“, a panettone stuffed with candied vegetables, or the late Alfonso Pepe, who in his very personal savory panettone made a perfect combination of vegetables and black olives.

Three “podium” pastry shops

Among the rich offer in terms of savoury panettone, we have selected three activities that have been able to create some of the most curious and innovative gourmet products on the market with commitment and dedication. From the testimonies and from the leavened ones, you can feel a visceral love for their own job, towards their own homeland and a search stretched out to the knowledge and the discovery of innovative combinations.

Pasticceria Artigianale Arleo (GE) A small reality of excellence in the sparkling city of Genoa, which with love and sacrifice offers a high quality product to their customers. The recipe of the award-winning salty panettone filled with pesto, created by the pastry chef Edoardo Rossi, remains secret, what we are given to know are the ingredients, simple and so dear to the gastronomic background of “La Superba”: Prà basil, extra virgin olive oil from the Ligurian Riviera, Parmesan cheese aged 36 months, Fiore Sardo Pecorino d.o.p. and a sourdough of over fifty years donated to Rossi by Master Rolando Morandin.

Ristorante Colle d’Ercole in Montesarchio (BN). Gabriella Oliviero, a young pastry chef from Colle d’Ercole in the Beneventan area, has studied salty panettone with a peculiar taste: this is the case of panettone with provola and mortadella and panettone with dried tomato, anchovies and oregano. The latter was awarded the first prize at the 2019 edition of “Una Mole di Panettoni“, an important Turin event in the world of leavened products. The volcanic pastry chef, convinced promoter of its territory, is collecting ideas for new products: in the yard there is a salty panettone with red sausage of Castelpoto and another one, onion-flavored.

Pasticceria La Delizia in Santa Maria la Carità (NA). We remain in Campania for this historic pastry, created in 1985 by the master and pastry chef Michele Somma. Winner in 2019 for the category “salty panettone” at the already mentioned event “Una Mole di Panettoni” he offers us a leavened product stuffed with typical ingredients of the Campania region: anchovies of Cetara, dried cherry tomatoes Controne, Taggiasche olives, Sorrento walnuts and aromatic wild fennel.

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